We hear it all all the time, “I can hear fine, if only people stopped mumbling”, or “I don’t need a hearing aid, I can hear well enough to cope” or “they are so uncomfortable and look terrible”. Most people who have had difficulty hearing, and finally get tested, have probably had an undiagnosed hearing loss for at least 5-10 years. Why do people, especially seniors, resist getting tested and wearing hearing aids? Many times, it can be due to denial, and refusal to admit that they can’t hear. A loss of hearing greatly affects seniors as it can result in a loss of independence in other areas, such as being afraid to having their driver’s license taken away, not being able to communicate with friends and family on the phone, or even shying way from social activities. We must help them understand that if they are not addressing the issue, they are not completely engaging in life. The ears play a role in all aspects of life, hearing, equilibrium, balance, thought process, social interaction, etc. Sadly, people still feel that there is a stigma associated with hearing loss. In addition, hearing aids can be expensive, and some cannot afford them.
Discussing the advantages and benefits of hearing aids can help convince the elderly that they are, in fact, the best option. Such advantages include: improved access to sound, decreased chance of falls due to better balance, ability to engage in social activities, and maintaining independence. We should discuss with them that there will be an adaptation period once they get their hearing aids. An experienced audiologist and hearing aid specialist will have custom fit hearing aids made and then will adjust them to access the most sound possible. This process can be frustrating, and requires many visits before the programming is just right. It is important to be patient and understand that the end result is worth it.
Cosmetically, hearing aids have changed a lot over the years. They are now much smaller and some fit inside the ear and are virtually hidden. Everyone’s experience will be different; don’t listen to other people’s bad experiences and assume that it will be the same for you. The truth is that, most people who get hearing aids, and diligently do the programing visits and follow-ups, have great results. Hearing aids do improve quality of life, in communication, sense of control of daily living activities, perception, balance, physical relationships and emotional stability.
Note: This article is for informative purposes only. Always check with a medical professional.